On September 26, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shocked the world with the revelation of an unknown nuclear plant at the Iranian city of Qom. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyah immediately called on the West for “crippling” action. In an effort to lessen the shock, Iran announced that they would permit an inspection at Qom. On October 1, in talks with diplomats from the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China, Germany, and the European Union, the Islamic nation tentatively agreed to a deal that would send most of their previously low-enriched uranium to Russia where it could be further enriched to levels needed for a medical research reactor, according to the Washington Post. This would reduce Iran’s stockpile of material that could have been further enriched for a bomb, thereby delaying Iran’s nuclear threat.
US President Barack Obama called the Iranian deal “a step towards building confidence that Iran’s program is, in fact, peaceful.” Yet, he was firm: “We’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking. If Iran does not take steps in the near future to live up to its obligations, then the United States will not continue to negotiate indefinitely, and we are prepared to move towards increased pressure.”
On October 11, Ynetnews reported that Iran’s air force chief let it be known that Iran was quite capable of defending themselves militarily. The next day, the US stressed again that they would not wait indefinitely for Iran to follow through on its pledges, but Iran dismissed it as a meaningless threat. Ynet said that such responses only increase Western suspicions that “Iran is seeking to win time by engaging for the sake of engaging while further mastering enrichment technologies.”
Iran furthered those suspicions by raising last-minute concerns and objections to their uranium deal with the West in mid-October, according to the New York Times. A senior official from the International Atomic Energy Agency even told the Times they doubted Iran would give up the ability to “breakout” and build a nuclear bomb. The official noted the capacity to have a weapon, even if never actually built, provides the Iranians with clout internationally.
Standing on tiptoe does not provide a very clear view of what’s down the road…but who can keep from straining to catch a glimpse of the next development around the corner?
By Charleeda Sprinkle and Joshua Spurlock
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